I had heard good feedback from previous ‘men’s away’ events, however this was the first time that I could actually make it.
We arrived at The Pines in deepest, darkest (literally, as this was the eve of storm Ciaran) West Sussex on Thursday evening, where a nice evening meal awaited us. The next day-and-a-half was evenly split between fellowship and study/discussion on the subject of sanctification (being made holy). Having at times felt inadequate as a Christian, this I thought, would be a challenging subject for me personally, however it turned out to be one of the most uplifting studies and discussions I have experienced.
I cannot do a day-and-a-half study and conversation justice in a short blog, but a quick overview would be as follows. As we put our faith in Jesus and are baptised, God sees us in Jesus, so we are holy in his eyes – this is positional sanctification. However, we must not rest on our laurels, because as Christians we need to work on becoming more like Jesus – this is progressive sanctification, which follows on from positional sanctification.
Colossians 3:1-17 helps us realise what we can do in pursuit of progressive sanctification. In laymen’s terms:
- away from inward focus / behaviour (anger, rage, malice, slander, etc) – our old self
- but towards outward focus / behaviour (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience) – our new self
One very powerful image stuck with me, where we as Christians are but a block of wood and God is shaping that block into the image of Jesus. Every time his chisel goes in, it may hurt us, however it will definitely change us and in this way he is leading us and transforming us to become perfect for when it is time to be with him.
All in all it was a time of great fellowship, enlightening discussion, a lot of fun (playing board games in the evening) and a beautiful location (we had a lovely ramble in the South Downs).
If you haven’t been or if you have been before, make sure to sign up for next year, I certainly will!